I dont know what it is about fall that puts me in the mood for cooking and baking...but today was a sure a busy one!
We had some very ripe banana's, so I made a couple loaves of banana bread. I will freeze one and take the other to share at work tomorrow.
While looking up the banana bread recipe on the Taste of Home website, I found another recipe for muffins that included directions for pre-mixing the dry ingredients for 4 batches. When I am ready to make the muffins, I just mix in eggs, milk and butter + fuit if desired. So I mixed up a nice big batch of the dry mix. The directions show that these can be made with just about any fruit...I love blueberrys, raspberries, bananas, etc and will be giving those a try.
I cooked my oatmeal for my breakfast for the next three days and it is in the fridge ready to go in the morning.
Tonight for dinner we had a Costco lasagna that I had in the freezer. There are plenty of leftovers for a couple of lunches.
The hub is officially unemployed now...until Friday. He leaves on Tuesday for Alaska. He has spent the weekend packing and getting all his stuff ready to go. Needless to say, hes 'uber excited'.
School starts tomorrow. I am taking two classes this term, so I will need to focus even more than usual- this will be a test to see if I can juggle more school with my job- which is another reason I was motivated to get the food figured out for the week.
Then again, I want to try to stick to a food plan and budget while the hub is gone. It should be easier for me to do since it will just be me and the houseguest. I plan on taking breakfast and lunch most of the week...and to make our dinners at home. Feels like Im off to a good start!
Busy, productive day!
Archive for September, 2011
I dont know what it is about fall that puts me in the mood for cooking and baking...but today was a sure a busy one!
Oh the bounty of fall...My cherry tomatoes are ripening at the rate of 2-3 cups every couple of days. This is the first time I have grown cherry tomatoes and they come off the vine so darn sweet! YUM.
Next year, I dont think I will grow lettuce- mine was bitter this year..and I really enjoy costco's romaine lettuce and get six heads for about $3... But I will definately do zucchini, tomatoes, and sunflowers. I am still waiting on the pumpkins..
I was reading the following article with interest today. The writer decided to write a series of articles about eating on a $30 per week budget (which is what she determined is the average food stamp budget) The commenters on the article pretty much ripped the story to shreds. It will be interesting to read her follow up stories...
So..the hub is arriving in Alaska a day earlier than he needs to and so I called the hotel that Lucky Robin suggested...instead of $125 + tax, I mentioned that the hub is starting employment on the slope and they discounted the room to $59 + tax. I would not have known to do this without LR's advice. SO THANK YOU!!
In addition, the hub called a friend who worked with him last time he was there and the friend will be in Anchorage that same night for training, so they are going to have dinner together.
A nice fix to a mistake Id say!
The hub found out today that they told him the wrong day to be in Alaska..instead of the 27th, he needs to be there the 28th. I checked on changing the ticket and its going to cost about $250 because te fair has gone up- ouch. So the option is to pay to change, or pay for a hotel + food for the extra day he will be there. It will be about a wash either way, so I will leave it up to him what we do. He also shipped his tools and gear today, which cost $900. The original ticket, plus the extra$250 for the error plus shipping his tools has brought the pre-employment expenses to $1500. THe money for these expenses came out of LTS...so I have already built a repayment of this money into the new budget.
I finally got the code to register for my second class that I have been waitlisted for (Criminology). I finished enrolling and all is good...now I just have to pay $788 for this term. I will pull this money out of my ING account and so long as I get a B or better it will be repaid by my job at the end of the term...now THAT is motivation.
Im ready to be done with expenses for now!!!
In addition to Criminology, I am taking Intro to Health. I am looking forward to both. I have worked with law enforcement in my job first with fraud when I oversaw operations and now with security..so I am very interested in criminology...and I think a good dose of Health will be beneficial in taking better care of myself. Time will tell as I get knee deep in to mid-terms and finals in the coming weeks...
Life is good!
Very busy weekend for sure. I got a call from DS Friday asking if I could watch his two little ones so he and DIL could meet halfway for a date night. (He is down in Sacramento) So GD (4) and GS (20 mo) arrived at about 2 yesterday, along with my oldest GS (7) who also wanted to come and spend the night.
With three little ones, I stay very busy...right now they are all out in the garden picking the red cherry tomatoes for me. To them, it is like an Easter egg hunt scavaging the tomato plants for the ripe ones. Everyone will be heading home at about 2...and the hub and I are planning on a QUIET evening tonight!
I picked up another Christmas present yesterday at Costco, and ordered a couple on line. I have about 25 people to shop for, so starting early is a must. So far I have 7 checked off my list. Funny, I used to worry about shopping early because of thoughts like "what if I find something I like better" or "what if it goes on sale for less before christmas'...and ultimately would end up spending MORE because I couldnt find what I wanted at a decent price or they were sold out of the less expensive options. I have somewhat let go of that mentality. I love having it all done ahead so that during the busy Christmas season is spent WITH family instead of IN STORES. I still like finding the perfect gift, but I am less critical of what 'perfect' means. I guess I have re-framed my gift giving expectations.
The hub has one more week at home. He is so busy finalizing his wood sales and getting everything packed. He has next weekend at home and then he leaves on the 27th. He reminded me that his pay will be different than what I budgeted. He actually will earn time and a half for everything over 8 hrs each day, which is a nice surprise for the budget. We did talk about the tentative budget and he was ok with it.
Ok, kids are done with tomatoes...so back to gramma time....
Today was the final day of our planning session. I have to say, I love working at a place where the CEO's final discussion was about treating our members with the same care we would treat a newborn...and to reach their hearts and do the right thing. I love my job.
Two weekends left before the hub leaves for Alaska. He finished processing the firewood that he's sold..so next week he can get everything ready for Alaska during the day when hes not working. The firewood sales provided enough $$ to pay for his airline ticket, and other expenses. I had pulled $2200 from the ING account to cover expenses, but it looks like I will be able to put all that back.
One thing I noticed in the budget that I didnt plan for is 'entertainment'. I think I assumed that this would come out of allowances, but it just never works that way...so I am adding a line item for entertainment. Im just not sure how much to allot. During the weeks he is gone, I will just use allowance for any entertainment...but when he is home, I will plan some budget dollars to go there...just not sure how much.
I am about to wrap my first full budget month that did not include any financial help to my sons old business. I have stuck to the budget and am going to hit all of my goals. It feels really nice to know I can be disciplined when I am in charge and no one is needing help.
I am definately ready for the weekend. I got a sweet call tonight from GS (7) inviting me to his first soccer game on Saturday morning...Of course gramma will be there!! Afterall, there is NOTHING more important than that, is there?
I signed up for a program at the first of the year, to provide dinner one night every other month to a homeless teen shelter. Today was our day.
I say 'our' because it is usually a shared responsibility. The hub cooks the meal and I deliver it. This month was a little different...they didnt specify what we should cook, but rather, left it up to us. I had an all day meeting and couldnt be the one to deliver, so DD1 volunteered.
I had no idea what the hub was making...
Can you believe, he cooked a 14lb turkey, made dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans for those kids??? OMG. I was so proud of him for putting so much effort into this meal.
I am sure the kids were thankful for a big, hearty meal.
The hub loves cooking...and has always enjoyed making the meal for these kids. He cooked enough I enjoyed left overs for dinner, and it was yummy!
I am just blown away that he did all this today. And very proud of him for doing it.
I am not a fashion diva. I actually am a poster child of the 'before' shot. I own exactly ONE pair of slacks for work, that I wash several times a week...how they have held up as long as they have is beyond me. And I have exactly ONE pair of work shoes. I have a weeks worth of shirts that go with my black slacks and black shoes, I rotate this wardrobe week after week. Seriously, this has been my wardrobe for more than three years...could be more.
The snap on my shoe broke Friday which cause the strap to just hang. I totally forgot about this over the weekend, and so yesterday when I went to get ready, all I had was a broken shoe. Thank goodness for super-glue. I glued the strap and wore the shoes yesterday and today with no problem...I guess I will see how long I can make the shoes work.
I am not sure why I dont desire to buy work clothes, I just dont. What I have works...
Today was a no-spender. Because of all-day meetings this week, meals are covered by my job.
The hub gave his two week notice at his job today and I bought his airline ticket to get him to Alaska on the 27th. Suddenly, this is very real.
There are plenty of things to do before he leaves. Im not sure if we need to change the cell phone plan, but we need to check..
He is stocking up on dog food for his dogs out at the other house...we have three labs, one lives here- the other two live at our other house where my DIL is currently living until she joins my son in Sacramento. The dogs there have always been outside dogs and have a 60 x 60 pen with a big log cabin dog house that the hub built for them and an old bathtub for their cooling off swims. When the hub goes out to process his firewood, they run free on the full two acres. While he is gone, DIL and her friend will feed them and let them run.
We will need to sit down to make certain all of 'his' bills are paid and that there will be ample money between when he leaves and when his first paycheck hits the account. Starting October 1, we are back to 'our bills' and one checking account for all of the bills, living expenses, etc.
Ive worked out a tentative budget..I remember that they only take federal taxes, not state- since his residence is Oregon. So Im not sure what those paychecks will look like. I know budgeting monthly is a challenge because he will get three paychecks then skip three weeks, then get three paychecks, etc..some months we will get 3 paychecks, some only 2 and some only 1.
In any case, I need to make sure to stash tax money away.
The hub is keeping 'his' checking and saving account. I think he likes that independence and he really didnt want to give it up--and I saw no reason for him to have to. Each month I will deposit the money for his gas, allowance and $$ for the 2nd house repairs. He will also deposit all of his wood business money into that account.
Our joint account will be for the household, bills, etc. I will keep my ING account which is a savings account I have built up over the past year and the vacation accounts.
Just much to do. I will miss him a lot, but I am excited for him...he has wanted this for so long.
The time will fly by- with school and work and the kids/grandbabies...
A new adventure for sure!
Last December, I went to a fundraiser and bought a Pizza per month for a year package. I was the highest bidder and paid $130.
We have enjoyed this all year- and still have 4 months...well, 3 after tonight. The pizza is gourmet...we get half and half...the hub likes meat, the more the better. The houseguest and I love another type that they make....feta cheese, sundried tomatoes, pesto and mozzarela. It is soooo good. I have lots of fresh veggies in the fridge to make a salad to go with.
So Free dinner tonight!
This next week is our planning session at work. So on Tues- I will have free breakfast lunch and dinner. On Wed and Thur - free breakfast and lunch. This is starting out and looking like an inexpensive week for food.
Gotta love that!
My houseguest and I were making a shopping list this morning. She asked if we have fabric softener. I replied that I have no idea, I use dryer sheets and always have a supply. The hub prefers fabric softener and usually buys that when he does the shopping.
I dont have a clothes line here, but perhaps I should. I loved hanging my clothes and knowing I wasnt wasting money drying in the dryer...hmm. Well, until we have a line, it is a mute point.
I find that I can get a couple of dryer loads with one sheet...and that even just folding used ones and stacking them in the unused supply gets me a third use. Fabric softener, you pour in a cap and its gone. Game over.
My houseguest said she likes to use BOTH for each load. WHAT? She said she likes her clothes really really soft. Um. hmmm...
My thoughts go back to my stay at home period when I was hanging all of our laundry out on the line. Then, I had to use fabric softener..and I was usually very good, but every once in a while left the clothes on a tad two long.. THere is just an appreciation that comes with drying off with a towel that resembles sandpaper that gives soft a new meaning....but I have never needed to use BOTH types of softeners. And my clothes are always soft.
I need to bring this young lady to the frugal side...maybe suggest she try using one or the other for a week? Maybe making the dryer sheets off-limits and forcing the issue....
THen again, the issue will be forced to a point with the hub leaving for Alaska...at least three weeks out of six...
So much to ponder on a Sunday afternoon.
Today was a nice, easy paced day. I went and picked up the eight gift certificates that I bought from the radio auction. I am still pleased with that deal. ($12 for a $20 gift cert to a very popular mexi place)
Those are tucked away for Christmas gifts.
Then, DD2 and I met up and went to Ross and Target. At Ross I found a really nice jar of bath salts for $4.99 that will be part of a birthday present for a good friend later this month. At Target there was a clearance sale on fans. I have one fan that I move back and forth between bedroom and living room. I found one for $14 and decided it was a good investment- since on the weekends, the hub sleeps in because he works nights. He likes the fan in with him, and this morning it was really warm in the living room. Problem solved!
DD2 and I met up wiht the hub at Outback. I bought one of those discount cards that the sports kids sale each year to raise money, and one of the discounts is a free blooming onion. The onion was good, but sadly, the rest of the meal was just so-so. Very grainy steaks. The hub treated us girls.
So we stopped on the way back home and picked him up a german choc cake and vanilla ice cream (his fav)
DD2 scooted home, and the hub is watching Rescue Me finale re-runs...Im watching the Notre Dame/Michigan game.
Today marks the 23rd anniversary of my brother's accident. When he died, he was just 30 and my kids were just little. His accident was the night of DD2s 3rd birthday party- she was so little her memory of him is very vague. Time does heal, but I still miss him a great deal. Miss ya Lyn.
Today was spendy. The computer dudes at work wanted to get breakfast burritos off the truck..they are very yummy, and only $3. However, I have always offered to buy the burrito for the person willing to go get them...so I pay $6. But boy, those are tasty!
I needed to stop by my daughters work to deliver her birthday card. I tucked a gift card for a massage at a nice salon inside for her. This is the daughter who is mom to two, plus foster mom to two more and works full time..she needs a pampering, and so I didnt mind spending a little extra for her ($75)- my normal birthday budget per kid is $45-ish. The hub will chip in next week...so it shouldn't net too much more than normal...
On the way back to work I picked up a chicken feta cranberry almond salad...uh, YUM. $8
So dinner tonight is a baked potato. (free)
My EVP at work is my mentor and today was our monthly meeting. I talked to him about the school they are sending me to next summer. He is very supportive of my going, and very supportive of my career path. It was nice to chat with him. It is funny, my mentor is early 30's...but smart as they come. But he is just a couple years older than my daughter!! I just have to chuckle at that.
So I will wrap todays post with this:
My daughter won a $25 coffee gift card on facebook today. The contest: post a first day of school story and whatever story got the most 'likes' won.
Her story: (Her nephew is my oldest grandson, and his grandpa is my husband....enjoy!)...and YES, the story is true.
The day before my nephew was going to preschool he was helping his grandpa work out at his house, well he wasn't paying attention and ran around his truck, his eye was just level with a bottle that his grandpa was holding and ended up giving him a nice black eye. Well the first day of preschool the teacher saw his black eye and asked "How did you get that?" and his response was "Grandpa hit me in the head with his beer bottle!"
One of our local radio stations holds auctions a couple of times a year. They are getting ready to have one this weekend and have the items posted on the website and are allowing people to buy already. One of our local mexican restaurants, that is close to my job and popular with staff had $20 gift certificates for $12!! So I nabbed 8 of them! What a great gift this will make for my staff and also for my kids...I may pick up a few more when I go to get them. I eat at this restaurant numerous times a year (the hub and I were there for lunch today, actually!) and this is quite a savings!!
I bought some Christmas Cards with Christmas music CDs on QVC a while back- the cards were just about $2 each...so my staff gifts will be a gift cert with the card/cd. I have four employees - two female, two male...and this will work for all of them! I budgeted $50 for my team and this comes to $56...so I am very pleased!
The hub leaves in just under three weeks. Between now and then he needs to process 7 cords of wood that he has already sold, get all of his gear together, ship his tools, and get everything else ready to go. He is going to be a very busy boy! Busy is good for him...he is pretty excited and this will help time to go by quickly. Plus, the wood sales will pay for his airline ticket and the cost to ship his tools.
He hadnt fully embraced co-mingling funds again...so I penciled out a budget to show him what it would look like if we did. I think this helped him warm to the idea. I like to budget for things like Chistmas, birthdays, RETIREMENT, bills, savings and pretty much everything in between....he likes to budget for TOYS. (such a guy)..so I made sure our budget included a monthly deposit into his 'whatever fund' account...once he saw that, he relaxed...and I think we are on the same page now.
Life is good!
The hub got the call today. He will be leaving the last week of September to start his new job! Needless to say, he is very excited.
Thankfully, he already has all of his cold weather gear from last time, so we dont have too much up front expense. I need to get his airline ticket...and he will need to ship part of his tools.
We are going to try co-mingling finances and bills again. We have had separate accounts for a couple of years, but I will be taking care of all the bills, so it will just make it easier to do everything out of one account.
My excitement is that he is going to work three weeks on and then have three weeks off. The past two years, he has had one week of vacation...and I have six. It makes it very challenging to do anything when there is one week to work with and he loves to use it hunting...and I hate hunting.
He will be on a 90 probationary period. I will breathe MUCH easier after the first of the year when that 90 days is behind him.
Then, I will start planning vacation time!!
In the meantime, I am excited for him. It always feels so good to get something that you want so badly...and this job was something he really wanted.
My friend invited me to a movie today. She wanted to see 'One Day'...I had a $10 gift card that we used to get in. I was thirsty, so I went ahead and bought a *choke* $4.75 soda. REALLY? I know they need to make money at the show...but this is seriously highway robbery! I enjoyed the movie, but I can understand why it got mixed reviews.
The hub made a big pot of Chicken/potato/cheese soup while I was at the show. Total comfort food in a bowl. This was dinner tonight and I will take it for lunch at least 2-3 days this week. I also plan to make some oatmeal tonight for this weeks breakfast. The preparation today will ensure an inexpensive week ahead for food.
My son headed back to Sacramento this afternoon. His visit was much to quick, and he wont be coming to visit again until NOvember. Perhaps I should make a trip down to see him.. Hmm....Something to think about.
Having a three day weekend is so nice. My laundry is all caught up, I sorted through piles of mail and magazines, cleaned and organized my office room in preparation for school starting, and still had time to relax.
DH has been sending his resume up to Alaska every few months since he was laid off two years ago. In the meantime, when he came home he went back to work for his previous job. He makes decent money, but he is not happy. He LOVED working on the slope and has wanted to return ever since he got back home.
They called today. They are running a background check on hom Tuesday, (which will be fine)...and then it is just details. He will be starting for a 90 day trial period for either side to determine if this is a good fit or not. I know he is so committed to making this work that he will do everything possible to be successful.
He is like a little kid today. So excited.
THis job is a little different from his last...he will work 3 on/ 3 off. Which equals working 26 weeks and having 26 weeks off. He will make about $20k more than he currently makes, but we will have to pay travel costs each time he comes home- which adds up. However, he will still net more than he currently does. NOT BAD for a job he will love. (The job he has now gives him 5 days off a year)...
I am keeping my fingers crossed that all goes as smoothly as he hopes. THis would be an amazing opportunity for him.
I have six grandbabies...aged 7 to 1 1/2. They are all so different, and all so precious. Today was my middle grand-daughter's 4th birthday party. All of my kids and their families were here...plus the birthday girl's other family members...All in all, 10 kids and 16 adults.
My DIL came prepared with lots of food- and I made a few dips to go with some chips plus cut up the watermelon that I bought last week. I didnt spend any money today. It was a great day for everyone!
My son and DIL planned a great day. The kids enjoyed a slip n slide, a pinata, bbq chicken and beans, cake and ice cream...and just tons of fun. They came happy and left tired and ready for a nap.
Barely got the litte on in his car seat before he zonked:
Then, we drew names for stockings. I drew my SIL's name. I always hope for a girls name, and always get a guys name. I enjoy shopping for candles and bathsalts more than I enjoy beef jerkey and camping supplies...but- this is the first year I have ever drew his name, so I am happy. He and my daughter have a daughter together, and he is the stepdad to my oldest grandson. He also has supported keeping the two foster kiddos. He is an amazing dad to all of them, so I see this as an opportunity to say thank you to him.
I loved getting to see my son. He is enjoying the job in Cali...and looks so much happier and relaxed after not worrying about his own business anymore. I hugged him lots today. He heads back "home" tomorrow..todays party today was for his oldest. sigh.
My oldest grandson convinced papa that he should stay and hang out with us this afternoon...so he and papa are hanging out in the bedroom playing x-box.
What a great day.
Tomorrow, the entire family will be here for my grandaughters 4th birthday. This wont happen again for a while, so we are going to take advantage of us all being together and DRAW NAMES for Christmas Stockings.
This is a 40 year old tradition. It started one year when I realized my mom filled everyone elses stocking, and hers was empty Christmas morning... I suggested that the next year, we draw names so that everyones stocking got filled. Oh what a fun tradition that started.
My grandma, uncle, aunt, cousin..all got involved...and each year we did our best to come up with the most unique, funny gifts in the stockings. It was by far the favorite tradition...and it forced each person to focus on their recipient for a short time. The budget was left totally up to the giver and that rule has held all these years later.
My kids joined the tradition when they became teens...and it continues to be the favorite part of gift giving. We draw names early each year so that everyone has a chance to really look for fun stuff, and to also bargain shop.
The kids only have to do that one gift each year...they cant afford to buy for everyone, so the only gift they need to buy is their stocking.
My parents absolutely loved the stockings..they were pros at filling stockings with great gifts. (one of my dads last years...he drew me..and I still have those gifts. He died Dec 29th, the year I had his name...and I remember shopping for him knowing he wouldnt ever use the gifts...but he loved them nonetheless.)
This year, we will be incorporating a little kids stocking exchange. All the little guys will also pick a name..and they will get to fill a stocking. We are adding a couple of extended family members this year...our houseguest...and the kids uncle who recently relocated here to be near family....
I love that this tradition has lasted the test of time...and is still as beloved as it was back when my mom was the reason it started...
I wonder whose name I will draw....
I get cranky when I get up on Saturday morning with plans to get caught up and laundry and we are out of laundry soap. Grrr. I siphoned enough out of the container to start the sheets...but in order to get it all done, I had to run to the store.
So...I went to Walmart, which is just up the street. WHile I was there, I picked up $60 worth of stuff. I need to color the hair, I was out of eye shadow, needed cat food, bought some bacterial hand soap for the kitchen, and just other similar stuff. I hadnt shopped for misn stuff in a while.
Then, I stopped at Safeway and picked up about $40 worth of groceries...bread, cheese, stuff for 7 layer bean dip, potatoes, etc.
An all to easy $100 spend day.
Tonight, just watching the Oregon vs. LSU game. Welcome football season!!
Tomorrow is my GD's 4th birthday party. DIL asked to have the party here, which is fine with me. After the party, DH is planning on making a big pot of soup for the rest of the weekend. I filled my car up on Friday $60...so I shouldnt have much other weekend spending this weekend.
My son is in town this weekend for GDs birthday...I will get to see him tomorrow...sure have missed him!!
I am a big fan of Amazon. I remember when DD3, now 19, was just a little girl and she asked for a pink unicorn. Where on Earth would I find that?? Someone suggested looking on Amazon? I had plenty of concerns.. Shop online? Was it safe? What about giving my credit card number online??? But I gave it a shot.
Not only did they have a pink unicorn, but they had several choice and prices. I found one and ordered it...and it was delivered to my door three days later...shipping...no charge.
Years later, Amazon is my first stop for many, many things. This week, I needed a battery for my laptop. I dont have time to run to the stores, so Tuesday night looked on Amazon where I found an array of choices, prices, customer reviews... a $23 battery was waiting for me today when I got home.
Much of my Christmas shopping is done at Amazon..(I even catch great black Friday deals there) I watch movies and TV shows for free (amazon prime, via my job), I am on auto ship for several household items like dishwashing soap and dryer sheets...which I get discounted and delivered free.
My school books...from Amazon used books...my free kindle books...Amazon...my point is, that Amazon has nailed my needs and expectations...and I am thankful.
Today was a no-spender for me. (yay!) We had a potluck at work- so I enjoyed some yummy treats..one in particular, a seven layer dip. Those are always popular!
I froze several loaves of my most recent zucchini bread from a couple of weeks ago...so I just pulled one out to take to work tomorrow. A small payback for the wonderful lunch I enjoyed for free today.
Life is good!